In a first for this newbie travel blog, there will be actual travel involved. Packing, suitcases, airports, maps, photography, eating, drinking, sightseeing, getting lost, hotels, public transportation, foreign languages, Euros, kicking tourists — the whole business!
Bilbao and San Sebastian in beautiful Basque, Spain will be the first destination after I spend a few days in London. I’ll be staying three nights in each city with a few side trips possible.
I begin thinking about my big fall trip around April and May. I’ve been itching to get back to Spain since I first went in 2008. A bunch of friends have been this year since the prices are so great. Since I’ve only been to Madrid and Barcelona, I felt the smaller cities would be a great way to experience another aspect of the country.
My big trip last fall was to Ireland, Northern Ireland, Munich and Budapest — an amazing journey. I figure the next trip would be a little more colorful and have a bit of a modern feel. Thus Bilbao and San Sebastian. I didn’t read a listicle or clickbait like, “22 Reason You Need to Visit Bilbao” or “These Pictures of San Sebastian Will Give You the Feels”.
Bilbao has the Frank Gehry-designed Guggenheim, the art museum that has transformed the city and made it a modern destination for artists, progressive thinkers and chefs. It’s got that dog made of flowers designed by Jeff Koons. As I pointed out in my breakdown of the one line in all of the 36 Hours video series on NYTimes.com, it’s a mix of the new and the old.
As for San Sebastian, it’s going to be pintxos, pintxos and more pintxos. The city has the second most Michelin starred restaurants in the world. For 2016, it has been designed as the “Capital of European Culture”. There’s a reason I called this blog, Why Am I Not There? Free food with a drink! Take my damn money!
As I pointed out before with the Euro, there was a reason I stocked up on currency when it was trading at $1.06. Flights from Heathrow, hotel stays and getting from city to city is a bargain especially in the off season.
For day trips, I’m considering Pamplona where I can run through the streets free of being trampled by bulls. Maybe they will let loose one just for me.
I’ll be there next month with laptop in tow. I’ll update this space with some quick posts and what not. We’ll see how it goes for this blog’s first trip oversees.